Arizona recovers from losing streak, blows out Long Beach State 91-56
Arizona's Parker Jackson-Cartwright (0) tries to muscle past a Long Beach State's Barry Ogalue (13) for a layup during the UA-LBSU game. At the half, Jackson-Cartwright had 8 points, making three of three shots.
The Arizona men’s basketball team found their lost offense as they blew out Long Beach State 91-56 on Wednesday at the McKale Center.
The Wildcats got a much needed win after last week's three game losing streak in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. The win moved the Wildcats to a 4-3 record on the season.
Despite the convincing 35 point win, head coach Sean Miller was not happy with his team after the game. Miller said this team shows a lack of defensive effort like he has never seen before. Miller called his team out over and over, saying the older guys are not leading the younger guys and the younger guys do not understand how hard you have to play to win at the college level.
“We are a lifeless group a lot of times,” Miller said. “I don't know if I have ever seen a group that just can’t bring it, can’t really fight, and man is it disappointing.”
Miller went as far as to say that his team is not as talented as the No. 3 recruiting class would lead someone to believe.
At least one player from this years recruiting class showcased his talents against the 49rs. Deandre Ayton started the game off characteristically strong, scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the first half. He opened the second half with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but quieted down as other players got it going. Throughout the game, Ayton shot a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor and dished out three assists, coming close to his sixth double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Although Miller was unhappy with Arizona’s defense, it still looked better and more coordinated than it did in the Bahamas last week. The Wildcats held Long Beach State to 41 percent shooting from the floor, 30 percent from deep and created 19 turnovers. The now 3-5 Long Beach State 49rs might not be the best team Arizona will face, but the Wildcats seemed to have more life and energy than they showed in the past three games.
Completely unimpressed with the new energy Arizona showed, Miller spoke longingly about the return of Rawle Alkins, saying that he thinks when Alkins comes back he can be the player to help lead Arizona back to the level of effort that he expects from his team. So far Alkins has been involved in non-contact practices but does not look like he will be able to return for another few weeks.
“I bring Rawle up because he is part of the solution,” Miller said. “I know that.”
On offense, Arizona handled the ball better, but still gave up 12 turnovers. Two in the first half and 10 in the second half, which Miller said was due to a inability to play well for a whole game. Despite the turnovers, the Wildcats looked smooth and efficient, similar to how they looked in their first three home games before the trip to the Bahamas.
Overall Arizona shot 60 percent from the floor and 55 percent from deep. For the first time this year the team did not seem to rely on Ayton and Allonzo Trier for most of their offense and the scoring was spread out over most of the players as six players had 10 points or more.
Trier had 15 points on 6-for-7 shooting, including one highlight reel, deep step-back 3-pointer as the shot clock expired in the first half. Trier seemed to let the game come to him and took quality shots, although he struggled handling the ball and had five of the team's 12 turnovers.
“I just gotta be more patient and watch what's in front of me,” Trier said about his turnovers. “That's something that is very fixable, it will be fixed, I’ll be fine.”
Miller started Brandon Randolph instead of Emmanuel Akot after evaluating both players performances in the Bahamas. In Arizona’s loss to Purdue, Randolph had 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting. Against Long Beach State he went 3-for-10 and finished with 10 points.
Alex Barcello had a rough time in the Bahamas, where he did not score in any of the three games and struggled with turnovers. Like the rest of the team, Barcelo seemed to find himself against the 49rs and had a strong game with 11 points, going 3-for-4 from the 3-point line.
Arizona heads to Las Vegas to take on UNLV Saturday Dec. 2 at 8:00 p.m.
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